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Former Refco CEO granted compassionate release from prison

Phillip Bennett, former CEO of Refco Inc., has won compassionate release from prison and is expected to be deported to the U.K. in the near future.

His release comes amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in U.S. prisons. In his request for early release, Bennett said his age (71), high blood pressure and high cholesterol raise the risk of his contracting the virus while incarcerated.

Bennett, who is a British citizen, had been serving a 16-year sentence and had not been eligible for release until April 2022. However, a U.S. district judge said that Bennett had been a "model prisoner" and that he had demonstrated "extraordinary and compelling" reasons for early release.

In 2005, Refco filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, two months after the company went public. Bennett was accused of concealing more than $430 million of debt, and he later pleaded guilty to fraud, money laundering and other charges.

At his sentencing in 2008, Bennett said that he intended no harm, but that he "made an unacceptable and appalling error in judgment."

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. immigration authorities had planned to deport Bennett upon his release. These circumstances made Bennett's case unique in the eyes of the U.S. district judge who ordered the early release. Bennett is expected to be deported to Britain "as soon as is practicable."

If you have questions or concerns about civil or criminal exposure in financial matters, please contact the attorneys at Ford O'Brien.

Source: "Ex-Refco CEO Bennett wins compassionate release from prison, to be deported to U.K." Reuters, May 2020

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